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  • From the Editor
  • Jennifer F. Hamer, Editor

A recent Pew Center Research poll found that “[f]ive decades after Martin Luther King’s historic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in Washington, D.C. … fewer than half (45%) of all Americans say the country has made substantial progress toward racial equality and about the same share (49%) say that ‘a lot more’ remains to be done.’” These data are measurements of attitudes, and this same poll revealed that communities of color perceive far less progress in racial equality than their white counterparts.1

Perceptions about race certainly matter. Research tells us that attitudes and views can affect where we want to live and whom we choose as neighbors; where we shop and go to church; what we read and watch on television; and the healthcare we receive. Yet, while many perceive and agree that racial inequalities persist, it has only been in recent decades that scholars have begun to mine and understand its meaning for women of color, who are disproportionately marginalized. This is part of this journal’s core mission. In keeping with this aim, this issue is part of a growing multidisciplinary literature that is concerned with not only matters of race but also their intersections with gender, sexuality, class, disability, and age.

In the pages that follow, Seema Bahl, for example, asks whether cante transcends the oppression associated with race and disability in “Disability, Hybridity, and Flamenco Cante.” The article is part of a series that appeared in the journal’s special issue on “Race, Gender, and Disability,” guest-edited by Sandra Magaña and Liat Ben-Moshe (vol. 2, no. 2, 2014). Quality of life is linked to race, sexuality, and age in “Civic Engagement, Religion, and Health: Older Black Lesbians in the Social Justice Sexuality (SJS) Survey,” by Juan Battle, Jessie Daniels, and Antonio Pastrana Jr. The coauthors find a positive relationship between older black lesbians’ participation in civic engagement activities and [End Page v] their self-reported health. Christina N. Baker, in “Gender Differences in the Experiences of African American College Students: The Effects of Coethnic Support and Campus Diversity,” uses an intersectional framework and finds that, relative to African American men, African American women are more likely to receive personal support from African American members of the campus community, enroll in courses offered by African American professors, engage in African American student group experiences, and, consequently, have an overall more satisfying campus experience. Race, gender, and class intersect in varied spaces. In “Child Welfare Practice in Domestic Violence Cases in New York City: Problems for Poor Women of Color, “author Tina Lee finds that, despite feminist understandings and solutions to violence against women, the state continues to blame clients, who are disproportionately women of color, for their own problems. She concludes that narrow state mandates and negative racial/gender stereotypes of clients by state workers enable problematic systems of support for these women and their families, in particular. In “Making Life: Work as a Locus of Feminist Rehearsal,” Tanya Shields focuses on representations of labor in Caribbean literature and considers the ways in which work, race, class, and gender intersect beyond the boundaries of the United States. Crystal Boson closes this issue of WGFC with a review of My Dear Boy: Carrie Hughes’s Letters to Langston Hughes, 1926–1938, edited by Carmaletta M. Williams and John Edgar Tidwell. Here she argues that the editor’s interpretation of letters sent by this woman of color and mother to her son, Langston Hughes, the renowned Harlem Renaissance icon, “reveal a more nuanced picture of him as a writer, man, and son.” Boson’s review makes clear the importance of bringing to light the real, everyday life experiences of families and women of color.

Racial attitudes and perceptions are important, and it is critical that we continue to monitor the ebb and flow of U.S. viewpoints on racial inequity and justice. But it is equally vital that we continue to explore and define how race works with gender, sexuality, class, disability, and age if we intend to build the progress that so many of color have yet to see.


1. Pew Research Center, Social...


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